Even in the UK we have heard of the US opioid crisis. For instance, some less than ethical doctors (for humans) are overprescribing Tramadol to their patients to feed an addiction to these prescription painkillers. Overall there were 72,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017 in the USA. On Jan 16th 2018, The Times newspaper reports that opioid overdoses have surpassed car crashes as the most likely cause of preventable deaths in the US.
“The Nationla Safety Council said that Americans had a one in 96 chance of dying from opioid overdose compared with a one in 203 chance of dying in a car crash…”
It is now reported that veterinarians who are more concerned nowadays about pain in animals, post-op, tend to overprescribe four types of painkilling opioids: Tramadol, Hydrocodone, codeine tablets and Fentanyl patches for pets.
When some of these medications are unused it is feared that the pet’s owner uses them to feed their addiction or potential addiction.
This is the assessment of a study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Veterinary Medicine, published Friday in Jama Network Open.
They conclude that the quantity of these drugs measured in morphine milligram equivalents (MME), rose by 41 percent. However, the number of visits to vets rose by 13 percent over the year.
The researchers suggest that pills meant for pets might be fuelling the opioid crisis in America.